We all know how important it is to fuel our bodies with nourishing food and proper movement and exercise throughout the day. However, something that is easily overlooked is making sure we are staying hydrated.
Not receiving enough water can result in a variety of issues. Since taking care of your body is more important than ever, we’re going to break down some signs that you may be dehydrated along with a few tips on how to stay hydrated.
SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
Do you feel exhausted even though you got enough rest? This could be a sign that you need to hydrate. When you're not hydrated enough, your blood pressure drops, decreasing blood flow to the brain, making you feel tired. Before you reach for caffeine, try drinking more water. A great way to prevent fatigue from dehydration is to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. When we sleep for six to eight hours at night, we go hours without consuming liquids, making it important to rehydrate when we wake up.
The body and brain require fluids throughout the day to function properly. When you aren’t drinking enough, headaches can be a painful sign of dehydration. When the brain isn’t getting enough fluids to properly function, it temporarily contracts or shrinks. This contraction of the brain from the skull can cause a dehydration headache. While this may sound extreme, rest assured that once the brain is hydrated again, it plumps back to its regular state. After all, the brain is composed of 73% water, so to help it function at its best, it’s important to hydrate.
INCREASED THIRST AND HUNGER
It’s a give in, when you are lacking fluids, you feel thirsty. Thirst is a sign that your body is telling you to drink more. But did you know that hunger is also a sign of dehydration? If you find yourself always hungry throughout the day even if you already ate, try drinking more water and see how you feel. Maggie Moon, RD, a LA based nutritionist explains, "Hunger is the physiological need for calories, water, and salt, and it's driven by a mix of factors, including your diet, appetite hormones, and emotional factors, such as stress.” So next time you feel incessantly hungry, try drinking water before your next snack and see how you feel.
In more extreme cases, dehydration can even lead to feelings of dizziness. When blood pressure drops, blood flow and oxygen to the brain are decreased resulting in feelings of dizziness. Make sure to rehydrate, and if this persists it could be an underlying symptom of something more serious. In more severe cases, dehydration can lead to rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, sunken eyes and dark urine. If these symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical help.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
The easiest way to prevent dehydration is to make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. If you’re wondering how much water to drink, experts usually recommend eight, 8 oz glasses a day. The 8x8 rule makes it easy to remember; 8 oz. of water, eight times a day. If you have a hard time keeping track of how many glasses you are drinking, there’s apps out there that help. However, water intake can vary based on weight and activity levels. The best way to stay hydrated is to make sure you’re carrying water with you throughout the day. Reusable water bottles are useful and better for the environment. Many reusable water bottles now have time mark graphics to show you how much water you should be drinking by what time of day.
DRINK MORE WHEN ACTIVE
If you are planning on getting a workout in, it’s imperative that you drink enough water before, during, and after your workout. The American Council on Exercise recommends that you drink 17-20 oz of fluid 2 hours before exercise and 7-10 oz of fluid every ten minutes during exercise. It’s also important to make sure you drink enough after your workout to account for the water lost. Experts recommend that you drink fluids with electrolytes to help with the absorption of water. Electrolyte drinks include coconut water, sports drinks, or fruit juices like watermelon water but try to find drinks that are low in sugar. Sugar can actually cause dehydration.
STAY HYDRATED WHEN SICK
If you’re sick or feeling sick, it’s important to make sure you’re staying hydrated. It’s a great aid in your recovery. When you have a fever, moisture is drawn out of your body. Your body temperature rises to fight off certain bacteria or viruses and you’re left sweating it out. It’s vital to keep hydrating to aid your body in fighting anything off. Even with something as minor as the common cold, your body loses fluid as it makes mucus or even when taking an over the counter medicine.
Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be boring either! While water is a great way to stay hydrated it’s not the only way. If you don’t enjoy drinking plain water, try infused fruit water. Additionally, coconut water and tea are great options. Purple tea is a wonderfully delicious way to stay hydrated, so pick up some here!
Follow us on social media to learn more about ways to live a happier and healthier life!